Integrated Marketing—buzz word or real business benefit? In my role as an Integrated Marketing Manager for Webolutions, a leading Denver experiential marketing agency, I’m often asked to clarify the meaning of the term Integrated Marketing.
A Google search will give you thousands of different meanings, definitions and opinions. On the surface, Integrated Marketing means that each marketing, advertising and communication program has a consistent look, feel and tone. Easy enough, right? But that’s just the start. For every company, it is critical to make sure that each marketing touch point looks feels and sounds like it is part of a total program. For example, all communications should stem from a well thought out brand strategy summarized in a company messaging and vocabulary document that captures the essence of the brand and expresses it in a distinctly ownable way. Then whether you’re writing a blog, a brochure or, internal employee communications, the key messages will come through consistently, time after time.
The same is true for imagery. A company’s imagery needs to be aligned with the brand platform and target audience. Here at Webolutions, we help clients build detailed buyer personas and then use that information to drive our imagery and color recommendations. We are well versed in color theory and how different colors appeal to different demographic segments. Why do many fast food restaurants use red as their dominant color? Because red has been proven to suggest speed, stimulate the heart rate and appetite. Similarly, purple is associated with feminine and romantic qualities, so you rarely see it in Harley Davidson ads! In a good integrated marketing program, the brand imagery is both thoughtfully selected and consistently applied.
But as I said before, consistent messaging and imagery are just the first steps to achieving an integrated marketing program. The real benefit comes from designing meaningful customer experiences that reinforce what your brand represents. Like at Nordstrom, when the sales person steps from behind the counter to hand you your bag or at the Apple store when a “Genius” can call up your merchandise, take your payment and sign you up for an extended warranty all from a handheld device. These are well-designed experiences that reinforce what both of those brands represent in the marketplace. Nordstrom positions themselves as the upscale fashion merchandiser with unmatched customer service. That means that they need to continuously search for new ways to outshine the competition in-store, online, via catalogs and returns—it’s not just what they say in their communications that matters, it’s what happens every time a customer experiences the brand.
Let’s take a look at another company that does a great job of integrating their marketing efforts: Nike. OK, so that’s really easy, but, Nike is one of those companies that really “gets it.” Let’s look at the integrated marketing basics of Nike. First of all, Nike has a very specific look to their ads–elegant with a lot of white space, they tell empowering stories and show images of professional and aspiring athletes. Their simple logo is one of the most recognizable in the world: Swoosh=Nike. Every time you encounter the Nike brand, you feel empowered–Just Do It! Integrated Marketing in action at its finest! While most of us don’t have the luxury of a $2.7 billion annual marketing budget like Nike, the principles of Integrated Marketing remain. From the smallest CPA Firm or doggie day care to multinational brands;
- Start by developing a brand strategy that is meaningful to your prospective customers and differentiated from others in your space.
- Bring that strategy to life with specific messaging, vocabulary and imagery that you employ consistently across every communication
- Get the message heard through a wide variety of media both online and offline
Make sure your brand is reinforced at every customer touch point with unique and memorable experiences that will get people talking
How to use this Information
Pause for a moment and think about your business. Do you have a meaningful brand strategy? Are you confident that it is one that matters to customers and that they’d see as different from everyone else in your category? Finally, have you worked the brand message and experience into every communication and customer touch point to achieve a fully integrated marketing program? If not, Webolutions can help. Call us today at 303-300-2640 to learn more about how Webolutions can help you design an integrated experiential marketing program that will give you a competitive advantage.
If you are creating amazing experiences for your employees and your customers, please share how you are doing this in the comments area below.